ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — Monsanto Co. said on March 18 that it has entered into a settlement agreement with wheat farmers in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi that resolves a number of lawsuits related to the May 2013 discovery of genetically-modified wheat on a farm in Eastern Oregon and subsequent temporary limits on certain exports of soft white wheat.
Under the settlement and without any admission of liability, Monsanto has agreed to make donations of $50,000 to the agricultural school at the land grant university in each state to further the interests of wheat farmers and the wheat industry.
“Rather than paying the costs of protracted litigation, this agreement puts that money to work in research and development efforts for the wheat industry,” said Kyle McClain, Monsanto chief litigation counsel. “Resolution in this manner is reasonable and in the best interest of all of the parties.”
As part of the resolution of these claims, Monsanto will also reimburse plaintiffs and their counsel for a portion of their out-of-pocket costs and fees associated with this litigation.
Interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the settling cases, Patrick Pendley of Pendley, Boudin & Coffin, LLP in Plaquemine, Louisiana, U.S., said, “We believe this is a unique and fair mechanism for resolving the claims of Midwest and Southeast wheat farmers. The settlement fairly and equitably resolves our clients’ claims in a manner that will benefit all wheat industry farmers in the states receiving donations.”
This settlement will not resolve claims that remain pending by wheat growers in Arkansas who also filed suit.
In November 2014, Monsanto settled separate suits related to the Oregon incident by agreeing to pay $2.4 million, most of which will go to a fund to pay farmers from Washington, Oregon and Idaho that sold white wheat in the six months after the contamination.